Fear of a Major Mideast War

Fears of a major war in the Middle East exploded Thursday night with the U.S. assassination of arguably the second most powerful man in Iran.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

The U.S. assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani at Baghdad airport on Thursday night has increased fears of a major Middle East war breaking out between Iran and the United States.

The Pentagon confirmed the attack and said President Donald Trump directed it.  Trump ominously added to the extreme unease with Iran with a tweet after the U.S. drone airstrike on Suleimani’s car.

The Pentagon said: “General Suleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Suleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”

Suleimani had been head of the Quds Force for 23 years. The Pentagon allegation is that he directed attacks on U.S. military during the U.S. illegal occupation of Iraq after its 2003 invasion. Suleimani was one of the men most responsible for defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The sudden escalation of unpredictable tension brought about by this assassination came just days after the U.S. struck an Iranian-backed militia, which is part of the Iraqi military, killing more than 20 last week in Iraq.  The U.S. said it was in retaliation for a rocket attack the group allegedly carried out earlier in Kirkuk that killed a U.S. contractor.

In response, protestors breached the gates of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, burned a building and remained inside for nearly two days before a re-enforcement of U.S. marines teargassed them off the embassy grounds.  While that increased tensions with both Iran and Iraq, which condemned the U.S. air strike on the militia group, the killing of Suleimani brings the crisis into dangerous new territory.

Impeachment and Indictment

The assassination comes after Trump was impeached and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted last year. Both are facing difficult re-election campaigns in 2020 and have long portrayed Iran as the greatest enemy of Israel and the United States.

While Trump last year resisted neoconservatives in his administration, particularly then National Security Adviser John Bolton, in beginning a war with Iran (with just “ten minutes to go”) Trump’s calculus appears to have changed with the ordering of Suleimani’s assassination. 

Though he dismissed the anti-Iranian hawk Bolton, both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Netanyahu still have his ear on Iran. What has changed politically was his impeachment and impending trial in the Senate ahead of November’s presidential election. Trump clearly understands the value of military conflict to shield a politician in trouble.

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As did Bill Clinton:

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Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

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84 comments for “Fear of a Major Mideast War

  1. jmg
    January 5, 2020 at 07:31

    Trita Parsi wrote:
    > Spoke to a very knowledgeable person about what Iran’s response to Soleimani’s assassination might be. This would be the equivalent of Iran assassinating Petreus or Mattis, I argued.
    > No, he responded, this is much bigger than that…

    The nearest equivalent? If we have been following Middle East news from multiple sources these years, it’s quite clear.

    To understand their point of view, we can imagine the reverse situation, that an aggressive military power has surrounded and strangled our homeland — let’s say America — for many years in multiple “maximum pressure” ways, while asking for our complete submission, accusing our country of the terrorism they are arming and financing, and claiming we are the aggressors. And then, firing a Hellfire missile from a MQ-9 Reaper drone, they just assassinated president John F. Kennedy.

    In their words:

    “The Americans did not realize what a grave mistake they have made. They will suffer the consequences of such criminal act not only today, but also throughout the years to come. This crime committed by the US will go down in history as one of their unforgettable crimes against the Iranian nation.”
    — Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran

    “End of US malign presence in West Asia has begun.”
    — Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran

    • jmg
      January 5, 2020 at 08:54

      On Soleimani’s significance in Iran, for example:

      > A survey published in 2018 by IranPoll and the University of Maryland — one of the few considered reliable by analysts — found Soleimani had a popularity rating of 83%, beating President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

      (Who was General Qasem Soleimani and why was he so popular? | The Hindu | Jan 3, 2020)

      As a comparison, reformist President Hassan Rouhani — who received 57.14% of the votes in the 2017 Iranian presidential election — had a 65.5% popularity in that 2018 survey:

      Iranian Public Opinion after the Protests | Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland | July 9, 2018

  2. Drew Hunkins
    January 4, 2020 at 16:09

    @ Susan,

    The Trump admin would definitely be the most culpable, no doubt, I don’t dispute that. I’m merely pointing out the role in all of this by the other blood soaked warmongering party: the corporate Dems. Killary likely would have launched a war on Iran within the first three years of her first term.

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    January 4, 2020 at 12:17

    How did the US know where to find him??? I would bet that somehow israel is involved.

    • Hank
      January 5, 2020 at 11:19

      Vera I bet that birds can fly too!

  4. dean 1000
    January 3, 2020 at 21:07

    This is a big mistake for the U.S. morally and geopolitically. Trump’s base has nowhere else to go in November. Whether it helps Trump electorally depends on what Iran does.

    • Rong Cao
      January 4, 2020 at 01:02

      It is mostly depend on whether Netanyahu and AIPAC want Trump to start the war with Iran in order to help the reelection of both these men in 2020. The oligarchs behind AIPAC have been cornering Trump for his tax returns, colluding with foreign powers to interfere in the US election. The NY state attorney office or NY Southern district might indict him as well as his family members for their financial frauds after Trump leaves the office in 2020. So Trump will have to do everything in his power to win this reelection, thus by 2024 some of their legal indictments might have passed litigation time limit

  5. tester
    January 3, 2020 at 20:57

    Anyone else find it odd that this assasination was described precisely in this NYT article published a few hours prior?

    See: nytimes.com/2020/01/02/opinion/hypersonic-missiles.html

    Just search for Suleimani.

    • msteinberg
      January 3, 2020 at 21:07

      As referenced by tester: New York Times, January 2, 2020:
      “Moreover, hypersonics are a weaponized moral hazard for states with a taste for intervention, because they erase barriers to picking fights. Is an adversary building something that might be a weapons factory? Is there an individual in an unfriendly country who cannot be apprehended? What if the former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Qassim Suleimani, visits Baghdad for a meeting and you know the address? The temptations to use hypersonic missiles will be many.”

  6. alley cat
    January 3, 2020 at 16:49

    I saw a clip of Tulsi on Fox News today. One of the Fox News presstitutes stated:

    “The State Department says that 70% of all U.S. deaths in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani . . .”

    Tulsi responded by saying:

    “There is no question about how evil this guy is. No one should shed a single tear for his death. But that’s not really the question here. The real question is what are we trying to accomplish here. . . ”

    No, Tulsi, as much as I admire you and support your candidacy, you’re wrong on this point, and your mistake is a crucial one. U.S. oligarchs and their lapdog news media are desperately seeking a moral imperative for war with Iran. They are trying to demonize Iranians, and not only are you not challenging their false narrative, you are enabling it. They want to convince Americans that Soleimani’s support for Iraqi insurgents was evil, thereby justifying his murder and its consequences, whatever they might be. U.S. oligarchs are doing this for the same reasons they tried to make Assad’s fictitious use of chemical weapons the real issue in Syria.

    You won’t get far by agreeing that Iranian leaders are demons, and then arguing that we should do nothing to stop them.

    So I sent the following message to the Tulsi campaign (maybe someone will actually read
    it):

    “I just saw your latest interview on Fox News. You stand head and shoulders above all your rivals on almost every issue, but if you agree that Soleimani was evil for helping Iraqis resist an illegal U.S. occupation based on lies, you are logically forced to agree that the U.S. assassination of Soleimani was morally justified.”

    “Besides, why should we take any claims of the State Department at face value? Mike Pompeo, who learned to ‘cheat, lie, and steal’ at the CIA, continues to lie about Iran 24/7.”

    “At long last, our government’s serial lying about the chemical attacks in Syria are coming to light.”

    “Don’t join in the news media’s attempts to demonize Soleimani and Iran. If you do, you become an enabler for war with Iran, and I know that’s not what you want.”

    • Ron Craven aka Ronzig the Wizard
      January 3, 2020 at 18:09

      No American anywhere near the middle east should be safe from retaliation, nor just for the murder of Soleimani but also in retaliation for all the wounded and dead in Iraq and Syria after America’s bombing spree. It’s time Americans learned that they can’t just bomb and murder without repercussions.

    • Deniz
      January 4, 2020 at 11:49

      At this point, it seems that Tulsi’s statement is as accurate as you will find; Trump’s war mongering for Israel is horrible and unacceptable, but Suleimani was not a saint. If you look into Suleimani’s tactics in battles, he was not a humanitarian, he deployed a brutal scorched earth policy; according to the NYT and the Intercept, the Quds used summary executions and torture was being used.

      Everyone is lining up on one side or another, choosing their angles and demons based on very little information; foreign affairs is a little more complicated than that.

    • January 4, 2020 at 14:45

      Thank You for confronting Rep Gabbards on this questionable statement
      I wholeheartedly agree.
      The demonization of our political, and strategic rivals is not the language of real diplomacy … the state craft that operates in good faith as a method to de-escalate tensions and work out solutions for the betterment of all. Not to be confused with the ostensible diplomacy of our current State Department that plot to undermine the ruling order of countries unsympathetic to Pax Americana, and Zionist hegemony in the Middle East.

      Your best paragraph:
      “U.S. oligarchs and their lapdog news media are desperately seeking a moral imperative for war with Iran. They are trying to demonize Iranians, and not only are you not challenging their false narrative, you are enabling it. They want to convince Americans that Soleimani’s support for Iraqi insurgents was evil, thereby justifying his murder and its consequences,”

      Correct. The characterization of Soliemani as the nexus if evil is an exercise in the manufacturing of consent.

      If she feels it would be imprudent to challenge or question it, the least she might do is to not participate in it in any regard, not condone it, nor enable it.

    • Lily
      January 4, 2020 at 15:43

      @alley cat

      Excellent comment, thank you.

    • rosemerry
      January 5, 2020 at 13:24

      Correct! It was Suleimani’s job to interact with other nations and groups in Iran’s interest and to help allies as he did in Syria from 2015. To pretend that the USA had some right to be in Syria and Iraq and Iran did not, as an ally and neighbor, is the usual US arrogance.
      Suleimani was active when the USA helped Iraq under Saddam Hussein to spend 8 years fighting Iran in the 1980s, killing at least a million Iranians. Does Trump think that was wrong? The main attitude of all US leaders seems to be that all the globe should have the interests only of the USA and Israel at heart, and none of their own.

  7. Drew Hunkins
    January 3, 2020 at 16:08

    Make no mistake, the corporate Dems, DNC, Maddow and the like will also have blood on their hands if Trump and his neocons launch an attack on Iran. They boxed him in with this absurd impeachment nonsense that left him like a threatened and frightened animal lashing out to boost his chances of survival.

    • Susan
      January 3, 2020 at 18:45

      You must be joking. If Trump does not have any more self restraint that this, then he should never be President of the US. He didn’t even bother notifying U.S. allies before he recklessly assassinated the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Commander Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. They are furious with him. The only country that supports him is Israel. Netanyahu finally got his wish for the U.S. to attack Israel.

    • Drew Hunkins
      January 4, 2020 at 16:07

      @ Susan,

      The Trump admin would definitely be the most culpable, no doubt, I don’t dispute that. I’m merely pointing out the role in all of this by the other blood soaked warmongering party: the corporate Dems. Killary likely would have launched a war on Iran within the first three years of her first term.

    • Hank
      January 5, 2020 at 11:26

      ” . . . will also have blood on their hands if Trump and his neocons launch an attack on Iran.”

      That’s the problem Drew- these people ALREADY have tons of blood on their hands for not making the slightest peep of protest over OBVIOUS USA war crimes, only enabling and cheerleading them! If the laws of the USA were enforced with respect to the application of the Constitution, these war crimes we are now witnessing would never happen, because abusing power in ignoring Constitutional laws WOULD be a 100% impeachable crime!

  8. Drew Hunkins
    January 3, 2020 at 16:02

    This is an obvious attempt by the Washington imperialists to bait Iran into a response thereby bringing about the war the Zionist power configuration has desired from the start. Adelson, Paul Singer and Bernie Marcus are about to call in their pound of flesh.

    Never forget, Suilmaini was a major cog in the fight against the mercenary lunatic Wahhabi terrorists in Syria who have been armed and bankrolled by the Zionist-Saudi terror network.

    • Hank
      January 5, 2020 at 11:32

      USA has military personnel with integrity and honor? Where are these attributes when a POTUS craps on the Constitution and takes an UNDECLARED WAR into his own bloody hands? Every government employee and elected official swear to “protect and defend the Constitution of the USA” but none of them seem to care. There has to be some accountability when a sitting President can call the shots while leaving a body like Congress clueless. Without adherence to the Constitution the USA is NOT a nation, but a pariah state hell-bent on wars everywhere they can prosecute them, so an elite group of people can get even filthier rich off the ignorance and blood and misery of mankind?

  9. Deniz
    January 3, 2020 at 15:43

    Iran has had years to plan for this inevitable and transparent Neocon provocation; there have been numerous and very recent assassination attempts on Sulemani already. Most of the world hates Trump and may even sympathize with Iran now. Iran also knows its enemy and the price that is paid in a hot war with the US.

    How Iran will respond to this is anyone’s guess, but Iranians aren’t stupid and are unlikely to give Israel what it really wants – an easy target for the US.

  10. ricardo2000
    January 3, 2020 at 15:34

    Trump would love to pick a fight with anyone as this is a key election tactic. Rally around the Prez, remember the Alamo, Pearl Harbour, are staples of US politics. Trump will want it early so he can show effective responses; Iraqis and Iranians will want it late so that massive casualties occur and maximum electoral chaos damages the election. Higher crude prices will benefit conservatives as they aren’t making money at present prices.

    Will Iranian authorities be able to rally their people for a war, considering the unrest sanctions have caused? I suspect the reason they moved now was to exploit this perceived weakness, and remove a potential leader.
    The Kurds must be worried that a distracted US will allow Turkey to commit any number of outrages, including the reconstruction of ISIS. I predict this move will push Syria, Iraq, Iran, and the Kurds closer together as they cover each others flanks.

  11. Mary Saunders
    January 3, 2020 at 13:23

    Taken, second-hand, from Investopedia:
    Oil prices jumped nearly $3 or 4% on the news as the fallout is expected to disrupt supplies. “Certainly Iran is going to retaliate in some way – retaliations will come, as they have in the past, in what we call an asymmetrical way. They’re not going to confront the U.S. directly but they will perhaps attack Saudi tankers again, maybe Saudi oil refineries again,” John Tirman, executive director at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies, told Al Jazeera.

  12. January 3, 2020 at 13:18

    The people running the US state have been above the rules and norms of international law about the issues of war and peace. The killing of General Qassem Soleimani is a war crime by a rogue Superpower, and I condemn this cowardly and brazen act of military use of force to commit such a ghastly murder.

    Trump’s hostile policy towards Iran has been to isolate Iran and cripple it with economic sanctions, which Trump had set in operation. Not that Iran was a threat to the US or any other state, but because Iran stood in the way of Israeli domination of the Middle East. So, Trump has been a handyman for Israeli rulers and the Israeli lobby.

    This killing of the general by the US is to advance the military and political goals of Israel. Netanyahu has used all his machinations to involve the US in a war with Iran. Once Iran is eliminated as a regional player, the whole of the Middle East will be an easy game for Israel. The rulers of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, etc., are already the spineless bootlickers of the Israeli rulers.

    • Susan
      January 3, 2020 at 18:49

      I totally agree with you Nasir.

    • ML
      January 3, 2020 at 22:22

      Excellent comment, Nasir Khan. I and many other Americans stand with you on this! Thank you for your wise words.

    • Lily
      January 4, 2020 at 15:56

      Excelent comment, Nasir, i totallly agree. Iran is the only state in the ME showing resistance and standing in the way of a greater Israel.

    • rosemerry
      January 5, 2020 at 13:32

      I fully agree. Nobody benefits from this tragedy except Israel, or perhaps only Netanyahu’s Party so beloved of Trump, Ivanka and Jared. Even that is illusory, as the JCPOA was actually a safety measure for Israel as well as the rest of us, as many Israeli admitted at the time. All of the vicious sanctions to destroy Iran are completely unjustified and illegal, but people are afraid to disobey Big Brother USA, even under an ignorant and angry POTUS.

  13. January 3, 2020 at 13:17

    What stupidity Trump showed! A pawn of Israel. Pompeo ran the show, and any thought he would be fired is out the wiindow. 2020 begins witb the worst vision ever!

  14. January 3, 2020 at 13:17

    Avenge

    For years we
    Search ways, think
    How to put an end to
    Dictators and killings.

    While we look for wisdom
    To settle harmful waves
    Come along seagulls, then
    Cause sickness and disease
    By sending droppings…

    Ripple after ripple
    Of anger, violence…

    We wished to end Iran
    Government’s way of life
    With brain, care and love.

    Suddenly came Reagan
    With fire of the war;
    Now is time for Trump…

    Let people live their life
    In Mid-East, all along
    The borders and within
    Or out of imposed lines.

    Hell is raised by ones who
    Want nothing but blood
    And selling US arms
    In exchange for the oil
    Which is source of income!

    These bastards are mean to
    Not only the world that
    Also, own children…

    They rape and plant hate
    In the hearts of mourners
    That will sooner, later
    Take it on the devils’ children.

  15. Jeff Harrison
    January 3, 2020 at 12:53

    Thank you, Mr. Lauria.

    I suspect that the US will come to regret doing this. If this is what Mr. Esper meant when he said that the US would preemptively attack, I would remind him of the old military dictum. When the enemy’s in range, so are you.

  16. January 3, 2020 at 12:48

    Excellent column.
    I wonder if Mikey Pompeo considered he was likely committing suicide when he signed off on this very stupid assassination?
    Bolton has to be in his cups.
    His only regret being he didn’t get to press the button!
    Not much changes, we are still a species of club dragging oafs.

    • poodle56
      January 3, 2020 at 23:57

      I think that the evangelists believe that they are using the Israelis for their own purposes, to their own ends.
      I believe that the Israelis believe that they are using the evangelists for their own purposes, to their own ends.
      One anticipates the rapture.
      One anticipates the messiah.
      Both are, in my opinion, insane.

    • January 4, 2020 at 16:19

      poodle56,

      A popular American writer who lived over a century ago shared your opinion, during his lifetime:

      The War Prayer by Samuel Clemens (“Mark Twain”) 1835-1910

      “O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be thou near them! O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead: help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with the hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief.”

      “For our sakes who adore thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it in the Spirit of Love, of him who is the source of Love, and who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all who are sore beset and seek his aid with humble and contrite hearts.  Amen.”

      Peace.

  17. rosemerry
    January 3, 2020 at 12:28

    Excellent article and comments. Thank you Joe and CN.

  18. An observer of an insane world
    January 3, 2020 at 12:13

    I cannot think of any more idiotic act than assassinating a Shia cultural hero, a symbol of ME resistance, and two officially designated members of State(s), both General Suleimani, and the Iraqi Deputy Commander of the Hashd al-Shaabi. The US has just declared a religious war against a good part of the Muslim world. The reaction by Iran will be only one level of reaction. No American will be safe in Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon and the US has just lost Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, but doesn’t yet realize it.

    If the Pentagon was worried about the possible assassination of American diplomats in the ME, they have just gotten their wish.

    The more frightening consequences will be a collapse of the Western economy, when all oil traffic in the Gulf is shut down, and possibly WWIII.

    On the bright side, Bibi will most probably get to stay out of jail, and the Team D will finally support the “smartest man in the room”.

    God save us all.

    • Ronin
      January 3, 2020 at 13:13

      The Pentagon is not worried about diplomat assassinations. They know what they’re doing. They know this will escalate tensions. They’re hoping for more direct action from Iran, so they can point and say “see! Look how much they’re provoking us! Look at they’re belligerent violence!” And justify even more direct violent action of their own. Once again the world being shown that its “leaders” are simply schoolyard bullies; a bunch of psychotic, murderous children.

      I just hope Iran doesn’t take the bait.

    • evelync
      January 3, 2020 at 16:04

      yes, observer, insane indeed…..

      a sane, serious view of this was presented by Sanders this morning in a public address in Iowa.
      I found it on you tube by googling:
      Bernie addresses Trump’s Escalation in the Middle East at Anamosa Town Hall

      sober, thoughtful, referencing the unintended consequences he and others predicted when he voted against the AUMF and war with Iraq…..

      I had hoped that Trump would not do anything this stupid and would be satisfied f…..g up less momentous things….

      But he’s determined to win at any cost….he’s also been bribing farmers now who have been hurt by his ridiculous trade tariffs….

      We have so little say in these things and we have ambitious unethical people as the “deciders”

      Trump must have a death wish….for us…..

    • rosemerry
      January 5, 2020 at 13:36

      I saw a suggestion that Iran could assassinate someone equivalent in the USA!!! ie a beloved military leader with 83% popularity among the public! Some chance!

  19. January 3, 2020 at 12:00

    Another act of terrorism by IMF and World Bank funded thugs, who have been manipulated by a corrupt and flatulent world press. Iran hasn’t invaded or directly attacked another country for hundreds of years. As a truly sovereign nation, Iran doesn’t need confrontations or illegal wars to stay in business…

    All wars are bankers wars, and the United Nations is nothing but a paper tiger for those who commit resource thievery for the Bank of International Settlements in Geneva. Let’s not notice the hundreds of millions of civilian lives snuffed by mercenary vassals who remain on the U.S. military payroll…

    Tulsi Gabbard’s (anti-war) campaign for the American presidency has gotten nothing but the shaft from the CIA controlled media. Most readers coming to this site know the plan is just another day in Armageddon mode…

    • evelync
      January 3, 2020 at 18:27

      Tulsi Gabbard is an extremely effective debater. And she does;t melt like most of the others when she is challenged. She calmly smiles at the ludicrous Cold War style attacks and shrewdly responds.
      I hope she will “qualify” for and attend future debates and get her share of time and questions.

  20. January 3, 2020 at 11:46

    This Israeli Zionist/US Neocon cabal and its war against Iran is just another example of why we must change the geopolitical system which is essentially a global war system. While anti-war protests will grow, activists should simultaneously support the movement to transform the United Nations into a “new UN” under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth (aka Earth Constitution). We must create a global peace system by the world community and the peace-seeking nations at the UN joining forces. The US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia will resist peace and mock the UN.

    World citizen/world federalists since 1945 have warned us that the UN’s Charter is wrong. Hence, the UN and the majority of nations wanting world peace at the UN are stuck on the sidelines — the UN watches helplessly as another world crime unfolds in the Middle East as Trump, probably doing Israel’s bidding, starts an open war against Iran. Europe will not be happy with the refugees fleeing the carnage. The solution is to help establish a “new UN” under the Earth Constitution, a visionary world federal union government waiting in the wings to be embraced by the good people of the world.

  21. Mary
    January 3, 2020 at 11:28

    Who are the Achilles head-choppers, who got hit with a Yemeni drone recently? Hitting there hits the two other bad actors, although in the case of the U.S., perhaps an increase in world oil prices are what the Deepsters want? It will still likely be proxies for now, while those who benefit from increased tension do their things.

  22. Jill
    January 3, 2020 at 11:22

    Last night I just wanted to cry. This has all the hallmarks of the armaggedenists at work while Trump was no doubt eating a bowl of fruitloops and laughing about the whole thing. The USG must be brought before the ICC. We will not stop committing war crimes until those who commit the are held to account.

    This will cause a bloodbath. So many people will die. We are destroying even the tattered remains of international law. The destruction of the rule of law which USG is causing domestically and around the world is a disaster for everyone, including the US. How our “leaders” cannot see this is incomprehensible.

    Ultimately, it is the US who will fall. All the resources our people so desperately need to flourish have been diverted to the death cult. People just want to live our lives in peace. For some reason this is something our “leaders” cannot allow to anyone in the world. They prefer to be kings and queens of a dunghill and I do not know what made them so cruel, stupid and evil.

    • Sybil
      January 3, 2020 at 12:25

      Jill, I agree 100% with what you have written! How sad for these corrupt “bleeders”! In answer to your query re: what made them so cruel, I would suggest that it is capitalism itself along with a family history of “education” in the ways of “elitism, exceptionalism” and so forth! NOTHING will change in the US or in the world until the entire Cult of Capitalism changes once and for all and is replaced by a system of egalitarianism. The battle cry promise of the French capitalist revolution: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity! revealed itself to be a complete lie a long, long time ago. The time to heed the WakeUP cries of the people was YESTERDAY!! Those who still cling to the old hope that the capitalism we all suffer from will actually produce ANYTHING resembling freedom, equality and brotherhood are living in their own personal bubble and are either benefitting from the current corrupt system or are willfully ignorant! I am sickened by what I see happening in the country of my birth. Greta Thunberg has said it quite appropriately: You people are not mature enough to be ‘leaders’!!

    • Robert
      January 3, 2020 at 18:05

      Essentially the world is run by psychopathological individuals. There is a division within the human species between those with a healthy conscience and those with a biologically-caused low conscience.

      Roughly one fifth of the population have biologically caused low consciences (see ‘Political Ponerology’ by A. Lobaczewski). Such individuals typically love power and control and many rise up the ranks, particularly the psychopaths, who end up controlling the other deviants.

      Trump has been described by professionals as either a narcissist, a malignant narcissist, a narcissistic psychopath or a psychopath. Behind him will also be ranks of low-conscience deviants in finance, corporations, politics etc. These same types of deviants will also be in similar positions in other countries.

  23. January 3, 2020 at 11:05

    Israel has pretty well been given control of portions of the US military in addition to major parts of Palestine.

    This is classic Israeli extrajudicial killing, an Israeli practice for over seventy years, but now America takes responsibility on its behalf.

    Just like the Neocon Wars, all for Israel’s benefit and all done so that Israel does not have to take direct blame for the immense violence it generates in the region.

    • January 3, 2020 at 12:11

      I suspect Iran will take its time and carefully plan a response, and that response may not be clear and unambiguous.

      I do not believe Iran will be driven to war – that would be playing the Israeli-American game with Israeli-American rules – but new clandestine and hybrid efforts.

      That is what they are best at. They have serious abilities these days, and the United States, with all its bases abroad, has great vulnerabilities.

      Of course, there’s the option of just leaving the nuclear agreement and proceeding with weapons development.

      Maybe there is some possibility for covert assistance from North Korea?

    • January 3, 2020 at 21:54

      @ John Chuckman: “Of course, there’s the option of just leaving the nuclear agreement and proceeding with weapons development.”

      That is extremely unlikely absent a radical change in Iranian leadership. The Iranian decision not to build chemical and nuclear weapons was based on Islamic principles and morality.

      foreignpolicy.com/2014/10/16/when-the-ayatollah-said-no-to-nukes/

  24. Jeff G.
    January 3, 2020 at 10:49

    Don’t forget to include the Brits in any list of usual suspects manipulating our deep state into perpetual wars. There is an abundance of evidence that the US is being employed as a powerful proxy (a “dumb giant”) in the Brits’ long-standing neo-imperial battles in the Middle East. Why do you think we are staying in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Iran. Any of those places ring a bell? Who benefits? Not the US.

    • Mary Mcandrew
      January 3, 2020 at 15:24

      Yes it does, it has stolen the oil! Not only that it weirdly justifies its vast arms trade. I feel for ordinary good americans, I dont feel anything for poor soldiers going off to kill other poor people in their homelands. UK and USA are on downward spiral, this has to run its course….we are not made of the same resilient stuff that the less decadent are…it will play out over the globe, we shall become pariahs.

  25. Rick Patel
    January 3, 2020 at 10:46

    Iran spits & sputters, long-faced Lavrov expresses concern, China urges restraint, CNN praises Trump as “Presidential”. That’s all.

    • Eugenie Basile
      January 3, 2020 at 14:18

      Not yet this time…CNN didn’t call Trump presidential. They are still hesitant between their anti Trump syndrome ( DNC partisan position ) and their pro deep state warmongering analysts.

  26. John Drake
    January 3, 2020 at 09:56

    Time for everyone to have vociferous conversations with their congress critters. Ensign Bone Spurs must be stopped.
    Trump’s performance continually exceeds expectations; when he seems at his worse he behaves even more worse.
    I keep thinking of Maggie Thatcher’s Falkland’s war; which came out of her sour poll figures and got her re-elected.
    This quote from The Guardian April 9, 2013 is prescient:” While Thatcher could hardly be held directly responsible for the Argentinian invasion, it was certainly the result of her style of rule and one-track approach to policy. She had failed to defend the islands from surprise attack and many in Argentina thought she had recklessly drawn the junta “on to the punch”.
    With no good excuses to attack Iran is Trump and his merry crew of neo-cons trying to bait that country into giving him an excuse?
    Further escalation will have unimaginable consequences.

  27. AnneR
    January 3, 2020 at 09:23

    Thank you, Mr Lauria, for this succinct piece.

    Once again, we refuse to accept that Iran has the right to allies, the right to support its allies. Well, of course not. Especially those nations, peoples on our “Bad Guy” list. I mean only we, the beacon on that bloody (literally) hill, the exceptional nation, empire, have the unassailable right to “allies” and to “supporting them” wherever and when ever.

    We can fund, with obscene amounts of money, certain countries which refuse to declare their borders, who bloodily ethnically-cleanse year after year for 70+ and who regularly bomb the rightful dwellers on the stolen lands and their neighbors. We can train their military personnel, those of right-wing South/Central American dictators all the better to oppress and repress their indigenous peoples and others, support and sell military hardware to the decapitation, autocratic (not even a pretense of democracy) Saudian regime in its efforts to destroy Yemen and Yemenis and its support for Daesh and Al Qaeda/offshoots. But Iran has no right to form alliances with any other military force in its backyard, no right to alliances with other Shia groups. Because we say so.

    What we have just done, over these past few days, whether in alliance with Israel/Occupied Palestine or alone, is a breach of Iraq’s sovereignty and is terrorism.

  28. Weniger Gottquatsch
    January 3, 2020 at 08:37

    Asia Times also has an article on Wagging the Dog: see: asiatimes.com/2020/01/article/is-trump-wagging-the-dog-in-the-middle-east/” rel=”nofollow ugc”>Wagging the Dog.

  29. Skip Scott
    January 3, 2020 at 07:49

    One of the biggest con jobs on the American people is that we are fighting terrorists. In fact, we use these groups as proxies in service to Israel. The general’s crime was he was actually fighting ISIS.

    I hope that Tulsi Gabbard can educate the public in future debates, although it is difficult to achieve in a sound bite. Notice how her “stop funding terrorists” bill went absolutely nowhere in Congress. Her bill got 14 out of 435 co-sponsors. Rand Paul’s version of the same bill got zero. That is how deep the rot goes in DC.

    • REDPILLED
      January 3, 2020 at 11:34

      The worst terrorist on earth is the U.S., which has killed more than 20 million people since 1945.

    • January 3, 2020 at 14:49

      Skip, don’t be fooled by ANY part of the establishment. Tulsi Gabbard is part of the military and being used as controlled opposition, just as Bernie was and (amazingly!) still is. They will say whatever the public wants to hear, but no one is going to be allowed to work for the people by the Deep State criminals who are actually running things. Check out this article to be extricated from a system that is corrupt to the core. Congress is BRIBED continually, and works for the corporations, not the people!!! fubarandgrill.org/node/1172

  30. Donald Duck
    January 3, 2020 at 07:30

    Just think, Trump’s best card to use against his domestic opponents in the upcoming 2020 Presidential election was the fact that he had never started a war in the middle east. Looks like the neo-cons are back in the driving seat at the behest of Israel.

    • Seamus Padraig
      January 3, 2020 at 12:51

      And it looks like Trump is tired of being president. Otherwise, I really don’t see how a war with Iran works to his advantage.

  31. Peter Blatt
    January 3, 2020 at 07:18

    What an appalling act of state terrorism. Completely ignores the sovereignty of Iraq. Stupidity doesn’t come close to describing this act. That’s it for the USA presence in Iraq!…….and the Popes prayer intentions for January are for World Peace……..God help us indeed.

  32. michael
    January 3, 2020 at 07:07

    “The Pentagon said: “General Suleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Suleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”
    Suleimani had been head of the Quds Force for 23 years. The Pentagon allegation is that he directed attacks on U.S. military during the U.S. illegal occupation of Iraq after its 2003 invasion. Suleimani was one of the men most responsible for defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria.”
    Seriously, the Pentagon does not care an iota about the deaths and woundings of thousands of our troops, they are just collateral damage in getting the deal done for Israel and Saudi Arabia. How many millions of CIVILIANS has the Pentagon killed, maimed and displaced from their homes? Remember the 500,000 Iraqi kids that dies under Bill Clinton’s sanctions; “we think it’s worth it”.
    The ISIS headchoppers are another issue altogether. They were funded by the Saudis, supplied and supported by the Israelis, and trained by the CIA. ISIS was our proxy army in the MidEast, just as the Contras and death squads are in Latin America.
    Obama had continued and initiated plenty of other wars (Chris Hedges says eleven, if you count Yemen as a war?), so he didn’t need to prove his fealty further to the MIC and CIA and Pentagon and Wall Street; eleven Forever Wars should keep the money flowing from the taxpayers. Trump is vicious enough in prosecuting Obama’s and Bush’s wars, but has done nothing for the MIC (and Israel and Saudi Arabia) lately, plus he keeps talking about withdrawing troops from the US-created hellholes.
    Trump almost HAS to start some wars of his own to survive in DC. Iran would be a REAL war, a horrible war, which our neolibs and neocons are foaming at the mouth for. At least it’s not Russia and China…

    • REDPILLED
      January 3, 2020 at 11:37

      Russia and China are allies of Iran, which recently conducted naval maneuvers with those two allies. If Iran retaliates in kind for the assassination, and the U.S. attacks Iran, what will China and Iran do?

    • tpmco
      January 4, 2020 at 04:35

      USA will be forced to leave both Iraq and Syria. Israel and Saudi Arabia will be forced to back down. Russia and China will consolidate the power center in the Middle East around Iran. Trump will be portrayed as a loser and if we are lucky, will be spending a lot of time in jail.

  33. Eugenie Basile
    January 3, 2020 at 07:00

    A straightforward declaration of war…… the collateral damage of this assassination will be catastrophic. Trump probably saw this as an election winner….. deep state presented him an option he couldn’t refuse.
    For the moment the reaction of U.S. MSM media and the DNC is rather confused and contradictory. The hawks defend the decision ( Bush Jr and Obama refused ) while the DNC is still in impeachment mode…

    • January 3, 2020 at 10:40

      “For the moment the reaction of U.S. MSM media and the DNC is rather confused and contradictory. ”

      You are right for a moment and that was about as long as it lasted. I see the BBC is solidly backing the Pompeo line after as you said a little confusion in the beginning this morning. So by this afternoon they will all fall into line and begin the cry for war with Iran.

    • Eugenie Basile
      January 3, 2020 at 14:33

      That will only happen after the DNC realises their partisanship will cost them the elections. And their senile leadership needs a bit more time to overcome their anti Trump syndrome.

    • Alois Mueller
      January 4, 2020 at 05:01

      „deep state presented him an option he couldn’t refuse.“?

      The Al-Quods Force (namely, Jerusalem in Arabic and Farsi) never conducted operations in Iran, but only abroad, particularly in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Yemen. With the death of General Soleimani Iran is forced to clarify its military strategy and to redefine its priority objective: defend the country, take up the defence of the Shiite communities in the world, or fight against imperialism; three very different targets.
      In the United States, forces opposed to President Trump will now have the opportunity of assassinating him while pointing the finger at the Shiite world. As for Iran, while it never misses an opportunity to assassinate its traitors abroad, it considers it counterproductive to take out foreign leaders.

  34. Alois Mueller
    January 3, 2020 at 06:19

    Who really controlles the USA:
    From the mouth of Netanjahu in his “Invective speach in Finks Bar” 1990:

    “If we are caught, we are only replaced by persons of the same kind. So do not be interested in what you are doing. America is a golden calf, and we will suck it, chop and sell it bit by bit until there is nothing left but the greatest welfare state in the world that we create and control. Why? Because that is the will of God and America is big enough to cope with the blow and we can do it again and again. This is what we do to the countries we hate. We are destroying them very slowly and let them suffer for refusing to be our slaves. “(Credit to the Defense Intelligence Agency of the United States Department of Defense)

  35. bob
    January 3, 2020 at 05:36

    It’s about time the planet showed Amereeka the error of its ways
    The totally unacceptable and illegal murder of ANYONE by the usa should now reap what it sows – and no doubt will – but why should the planet suffer when Amereeeka is OUT OF CONTROL?

    • January 3, 2020 at 11:29

      This assassination is an act of desperation by an empire already in steep decline. It wasn’t that many years ago that it was unthinkable that the US emporer would ever publicly admit to such a brazen act. The end is near…death to the empire.

    • REDPILLED
      January 3, 2020 at 11:39

      Don’t you mean AmeriKKKa?

  36. Kim Dixon
    January 3, 2020 at 05:14

    With the utterly-illegal US assassination of Iran’s most-popular General, looks like the Neocons actually running the government aren’t gonna wait for Pres Warren/Buttigieg for their inevitable Iran War.

    The only question is how long it will take the Resistance Dems to fall right in line with behind President Chaos on this latest US warcrime. After all, gotta Support The Troops™ no matter what.

    Buckle up, folks. This time, it’s for real.

  37. Daniel Fry
    January 3, 2020 at 05:11

    No general is irreplaceable. That said, escalating the conflict with iran just to prop up corrupt bibi in a foreign state is really, really stupid.

    • January 3, 2020 at 10:53

      Well according to Rumsfeld and Cheney at the height of the Iraq war there were only a few hundred die hard terrorists left to kill and the whole thing would be over. Since that time the US has killed ( according to them) thousands of number one commanders, indispensible leaders etc. and yet…….and yet. here we are today with AlQueda bigger and stronger than ever and in dozens of countries. ISIS and countless other ” Terrorist” organizations around the world. So the killing of this general is going to resolve the Middle East? One thing is for certain and that is that you can count on the insanity of the Americans if the true definition of insanity is ” Doing the same thing, in the same way , over and over again and expecting a different result” I mean these turkeys never learn, they would take a sledge hammer to fix a Rolex.I am reminded of a cartoon many years ago that pictured the generals in the Pentagon as ” wide shouldered, with medals plastered all over their chests and with tiny pin heads. ” A perfectly apped discription of the leadership of the >Pentagon.

  38. Realist
    January 3, 2020 at 02:08

    Iran may not have predator drones that can reach the United States, but now that the genie of political assassination has been let out of the bottle by Mr. Trump, I should expect any number of major American figures to become targets for such murders. And I mean genuine political assassinations, not the contrived false flags carried out in Britain by Washington’s poodles with an intention to smear Vladimir Putin. There are many Iranians living in this country, and many others who may now sympathize with their cause after Washington’s latest mindless outrage for which it gleefully seizes credit.

    I fear this may be another Sarajevo moment in history–eagerly embraced by the lizard brains of the entire collective leadership of Western culture, but soon to be regretted forever by the world’s entire population. Perhaps we can kiss all that marvelous new technology being promised for the 2030’s and beyond goodbye and instead re-learn how to survive in mud huts. Nice way to ring in the new year and new decade, Mr. Trump. Perhaps the country would be better off with you in a jail cell and the American military keeping its powder dry in the only place it belongs–on American soil.

    • evelync
      January 3, 2020 at 11:18

      yes, indeed – LIZARD BRAINS!
      – secretly, without Congressional consent….

      Götterdämmerung anyone?

      Thank you Senators Biden, Clinton, Edwards and Kerry, the politically ambitious, and all the rest who voted yes on the AUMF…those votes now coming home to roost, having emasculated the Senate giving the Lizard in Chief the unlimited cash (our cash) to wage war to win himself the next election, if we’re all still around….

      Who will demand impeachment based on violating the constitution, challenging the bypass of the Senate’s authority and the constitutionality of the AUMF itself?

  39. Rothschilds Are Real
    January 3, 2020 at 00:38

    Iran is not Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, or Syria. I think most Americans will soon realize there’s a real price to pay for not standing up to the Israeli takeover of their government.

    • Veritaz
      January 3, 2020 at 08:27

      “I think most Americans will soon realize there’s a real price to pay for not standing up to the Israeli takeover of their government.”

      …but it’s not just their Government. It’s their entire Media, CNBC, MSNBC, Google, NYTimes, Disneyland, Hollywood, the Justice Department, (all of it) the Supreme Court, their method of printing new Currency, etc etc etc.

  40. Tom Shoemaker
    January 3, 2020 at 00:04

    We currently have a cv group in north arabian sea. Wonder how the next few days will progress.

  41. January 2, 2020 at 23:29

    Down with US imperialism! Defend Iran! US out of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan! Now. A defeat for US imperialism is a victory for the oppressed all round the world, including in the US!

    • Pedro delgrifos
      January 3, 2020 at 02:39

      …and we are oppressed. The united states are (plural) oppressed by an entity called “the united states”(singular).

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